Justin Champagnie

Wizards Sign Justin Champagnie To 10-Day Deal

FEBRUARY 22: Champagnie’s signing is official, the Wizards announced (via Twitter).

FEBRUARY 20: The Wizards have agreed to sign forward Justin Champagnie to a 10-day contract, agent Daniel Hazan tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Washington has two open spots on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding cut will be necessary to create space for Champagnie.

Champagnie, who has appeared in 41 total NBA regular season games with Toronto and Boston, signed a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 contract with the Heat last summer after being waived by the Celtics. He competed in training camp for a standard or two-way deal with Miami, but was one of the club’s final cuts and has spent the season with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, the Heat’s G League affiliate.

In 34 Showcase Cup and regular season games this season for the Skyforce, Champagnie has averaged an impressive 22.3 points, 8.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.4 steals in 37.6 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old has posted a shooting line of .494/.292/.742.

Champagnie will earn $116,075 on his 10-day contract with the Wizards and would be eligible to sign a second 10-day deal once this one expires.

Champagnie is the twin brother of Spurs forward Julian Champagnie.

Heat Promote Dru Smith To Standard Contract, Convert Cole Swider To Two-Way

The Heat have signed guard Dru Smith to a multi-year standard NBA contract and converted sharpshooting forward Cole Swider to a two-way deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

In a subsequent move, the team waived both forward Cheick Diallo and wing Justin Champagnie, who were both on Exhibit 10 contracts.

Smith, 25, has been in the Heat’s developmental system since signing a training camp deal in 2021. He spent that year playing with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, before once again signing a camp deal with the Heat in 2022. At the conclusion of 2022’s training camp, Smith signed a two-way contract with the team.

At the beginning of the 2022/23 season, the Heat alternated between Orlando Robinson and Smith on two-way deals, with Jamal Cain on the other, swapping the pair out a handful of times. Smith then wound up signing with the Nets on a two-way before rejoining Miami this free agency period. He holds career averages of 2.9 points and 1.5 assists in 15 career NBA games.

Now, Smith is rewarded with a multi-year standard contract which has a $425K opening-night guarantee, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). It’s a similar structure to the contract Robinson wound up getting from Miami, with a July trigger date in its second year, tweets HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto. The Heat were only able to sign Smith to a minimum-salary deal due to their proximity to the tax aprons.

Smith had a solid preseason, averaging 6.5 points and 5.3 assists in four games. Head coach Erik Spoelstra praised his during training camp and the Heat appreciated his ability to run the floor, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (Twitter link). Smith and Kyle Lowry are the only true point guards on Miami’s roster.

It’s interesting to see Miami opt for Smith over Cain for the 14th roster spot, which he had been hoping to get, according to Jackson. Cain averaged 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds in four preseason games. However, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald (Twitter link) observes, keeping Cain on a two-way may make it easier for the Heat to keep him in their system going forward because they may opt to switch out the 14th roster spot during the season.

Swider is another player who earned plenty of buzz during training camp and the preseason. He opened the preseason with a 17-point performance while knocking down five three-pointers. Swider, who spent last season on a two-way deal with the Lakers before being waived this summer, averaged 11.2 points and knocked down 37.1% of his three-pointers (7.0 attempts) across five appearances in the preseason. The 6’9″ forward shot 43.6% from deep in 27 regular season G League games last year.

Swider is hoping to follow in Heat sharpshooter Duncan Robinson‘s footsteps by being frontcourt shooter who enjoys a successful career with Miami. The Syracuse product joins Cain and R.J. Hampton as the team’s two-way players.

As for the Heat’s camp players, Diallo played sparingly in the preseason, averaging 2.7 rebounds in 6.9 minutes. Champagnie played much more, averaging 7.5 points in 22.1 minutes, positioning himself well in the camp battle. Even though both players are being waived, the Heat likely hope to funnel both to the Skyforce, where they’d be eligible for a bonus worth up to $75K if they are there for 60 or more days. Champagnie played with the Skyforce last season and Miami could revisit him in the future, like they did with Smith.

With the series of moves, the Heat’s opening night roster appears set, though there’s still time for them to cycle through moree Exhibit 10 signings. Miami has 14 players on standard deals and three players on two-way contracts. The club will keep the 15th spot on the roster open for now due to its proximity to the tax.

Heat Notes: Herro, Butler, Jaquez, Jovic, Champagnie

Tyler Herro is still in Miami after a long summer of trade rumors and he’s determined to show the Heat that he was worth keeping, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Herro appeared on the way out when Damian Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade in early July and listed Miami as his only preference. But Herro’s role with the Heat is secure now and he’s ready to make an impact, as he showed with a 30-point performance on Sunday night.

“I’m always ambitious,” he said. “Motivation kind of drives me and it’s who I am. But that’s who I am, so that’s me every day. Just being myself. This year is obviously, I wouldn’t even call it revenge or a bounce back. It’s just a year to be myself and just have fun and enjoying what I love to do, which is play basketball. Tonight was a little bit of it.”

Herro was a productive scorer from everywhere on the court on Sunday, Chiang adds, finishing 11-of-19 from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point range, and 4-of-5 on free throws. He displayed an effective floater near the basket as nine of his shots came from inside the lane.

“Man, he’s just so efficient now,” Bam Adebayo said. “His movements, less dribbles, not trying to do much. He gets straight to his points, gets straight to his shots.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Jimmy Butler was held out of Sunday’s game after undergoing two separate dental surgeries this week, but he’s expected to return before the end of the preseason, Chiang adds.
  • Coach Eric Spoelstra cited progress by Drew Peterson and Alondes Williams, who were both waived over the weekend, Chiang states in another Miami Herald story. Both players were part of Miami’s Summer League team, and Spoelstra hopes they will continue to develop with the organization’s G League affiliate. “We’re encouraged by both of them,” he said. “This was part of the agreement to transition them and get guys on to Sioux Falls. It happens in stages. These can be great opportunities still. We want to invest in them for the entire season. That’s ideally the plan. They got a lot better these last eight weeks and we’re looking forward to this next step in Sioux Falls.”
  • Nagging injuries have virtually eliminated any chance that Jaime Jaquez or Nikola Jovic will be in the rotation when the regular season begins, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Jaquez has been limited by a groin strain in the preseason, while Jovic is dealing with a bruised knee.
  • Justin Champagnie may be the favorite to fill the open roster spot if the Heat don’t try to sign someone else, Winderman speculates in a separate piece. He expects Cole Swider to be converted to a two-way contract, with current two-way player Dru Smith possibly the odd man out.

Spurs Notes: Wembanyama, Vassell, Champagnie, Johnson

Victor Wembanyama has been playing in pickup games with his Spurs teammates for several weeks, but sometimes they’re still amazed by what he can do, writes Andrew Lopez of ESPN. The French rookie’s unique combination of size and skill was on display Friday night against Miami as he posted 23 points, four rebounds, four assists and three blocks in 23 minutes.

Included in those points were a couple of spectacular plays that demonstrate how Wembanyama can transform San Antonio’s offense. One came late in the first half on a give-and-go with Tre Jones where Wembanyama leaped for a pass and easily slammed it with two hands.

“Towards me, the problem is rarely that the ball is thrown too high,” Wembanyama said. “It only comes down to how well we know each other.”

Wembanyama also thrilled the crowd by catching a fast-break pass just inside the three-point line and using a Eurostep to get to the basket without dribbling.

“He is going to make special plays,” Devin Vassell said. “I’m going to keep talking about it, he is going to make a play every game where you just look down like what the heck just happened.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Vassell is already figuring out how his game can improve by having a weapon like Wembanyama, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Vassell was 6-of-7 on three-point shots Friday night, with two of them coming directly off assists from the big man. “With Vic, it makes the game so easy,” said Vassell, who recently signed a five-year extension. “As soon as he rolls and pops, he has so much attention that we are just wide open on the kickout. The thing is just him trusting us and us trusting him and us just building chemistry off of that.”
  • Julian Champagnie is trying to win a roster spot with the Spurs while his twin brother Justin Champagnie is doing the same with the Heat, and it marked a rare occurrence when they were on the court at the same time on Friday, Orsborn adds. The twins said the only other time they have faced each other was in a G League game last season.
  • Keldon Johnson missed his second straight preseason game due to concerns over lingering hamstring soreness, Orsborn states in a separate story. Johnson has been able to practice, but the Spurs are being careful about using him in games. “We know what Keldon can do,” Doug McDermott said. “He will be ready once his body tells him he is ready. But he is still the same Keldon. He is going to be aggressive going to the rim. His jumper looks great as well and he has been a great leader for us in the locker room.”

Southeast Notes: J. Davis, Oubre, Champagnie, Martin

Second-year Wizards shooting guard Johnny Davis, the 10th pick out of Wisconsin in the 2022 draft, is hoping to make a bigger impact this year than he did as a rookie. While on a lottery-bound Washington team, Davis struggled to crack the club’s rotation for much of the year, ultimately averaging 5.8 PPG, 2.3 RPG and 1.0 APG in just 28 contests.

Now, Josh Robbins of The Athletic takes stock of how rival scouts feel about the 6’5″ swingman’s NBA future.

“He’s going to have a little bit more of an intense light on him this year just from an evaluation standpoint because the team’s shifted,” one scout said. “It’s not any of his fault or anything, but he’s going to have to prove that he’s ready to play this year quicker than maybe incrementally getting better and showing progress just because everyone’s going to be a little bit under the gun there.”

“In college, I think he was really competitive, really sure of himself, really assertive on the court,” another scout observed. “He got to his spots, got to situations where he could be impactful and effective. He competed on both ends. And certainly early on (in the NBA), it just seemed like for whatever reason, he didn’t have that same level of confidence, and that impacted him overall.”

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Rumored to be a suitor for the veteran forward, the Heat did not make a major push for the services of Kelly Oubre in free agency, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald reports (Twitter link). Oubre instead signed a minimum contract with the Sixers earlier this week. An athletic 6’7″ wing, Oubre averaged a career-best 20.3 PPG last season with the Hornets, along with 5.2 RPG, 1.4 SPG and 1.1 APG.
  • Heat training camp invitee Justin Champagnie is hoping to follow in the footsteps of Miami forward Caleb Martin as an unheralded twin wing making an outsized impact on a playoff hopeful, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. Caleb Martin’s twin brother Cody Martin has firmly established himself as a key role player for the Hornets. Champagnie’s twin brother Julian Champagnie, meanwhile, is a developing talent with the Spurs. “We talk about basketball a lot,” Justin said of his brother. “He’ll come tell me about his, and I’ll tell him about mine.” The 6’6″ forward isn’t guaranteed a roster spot, but could force the Heat’s hand with a strong training camp and preseason. “It’s good knowing you actually have an opportunity to make the team or get a two-way, to kick-start your career,” Champagnie said. “And that makes you work harder.”
  • In case you missed it, trade talks between the Heat and Trail Blazers for Portland All-Star Damian Lillard remain at something of an impasse.

Heat Sign Former Celtic Justin Champagnie

The Heat have signed Justin Champagnie, the team tweets.

While terms were not disclosed, Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald reports that it’s an Exhibit 10 deal (Twitter link). The addition of Champagnie gives Miami a full 21-man camp roster.

The Celtics waived him at the beginning of the month.

Champagnie, 22, appeared in two regular season and four postseason games for Boston last season. He signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract in April but it was non-guaranteed for the upcoming season. He was due a $50K guarantee if he had remained on Boston’s roster.

Champagnie could earn a little more money via the maximum Exhibit 10 bonus. If he’s waived by the Heat and then spends at least 60 days with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, their G League affiliate, he could earn a $75K bonus.

After going undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2021, the 6’6″ swingman inked a two-way deal with the Raptors for the 2021/22 season. The team brought him back aboard for 2022/23, but after he had appeared in just three games for Toronto, he was cut in December.

In a procedural move, the Heat also signed and then waived center Brandon McCoy, who played for the Skyforce last season.

Celtics Waive Justin Champagnie

The Celtics have waived swingman Justin Champagnie, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Champagnie, 22, appeared in two regular season and four postseason games for Boston last season. The front office had a deadline today regarding Champagnie’s contract. He had a $50K guarantee if he remained on the roster through Tuesday.

Champagnie signed a two-year, minimum-salary contract in April but it was non-guaranteed for next season. By shedding Champagnie, the Celtics now have two openings on the 15-man roster.

He could benefit in the long run, Blake Murphy of Sportsnet notes (Twitter link). This frees him up to seek a two-way or camp deal where he could conceivably end up with more guaranteed money — the maximum Exhibit 10 bonus and the partial guarantee on a two-way contract are each worth $75K.

After going undrafted out of Pittsburgh in 2021, the 6’6″ swingman inked a two-way deal with the Raptors for the 2021/22 season. The team brought him back aboard for 2022/23, but after he had appeared in just three games for Toronto, he was cut in December.

Celtics Notes: Brogdon, Williams, Brown, Champagnie

The Celtics are turning away trade inquiries on Malcolm Brogdon, according to Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com. A source from a rival organization told Bulpett that his club wasn’t able to make any progress when it called Boston about Brogdon.

“They said he’s a valued member of their team, and that’s where it ended,” the team official said. “I don’t know if that changes down the line, but we didn’t get anywhere. And I’m pretty sure we aren’t the only team that got that response.”

Brogdon captured Sixth Man of the Year honors in his first season with the Celtics, but they were willing to consider sending him to the Clippers in an early version of the Kristaps Porzingis trade. L.A. pulled out of the deal because of medical concerns over Brogdon, who suffered a right elbow and forearm injury in the conference finals, so the Boston traded Marcus Smart to Memphis instead. With Smart gone, Celtics officials are less willing to part with another important part of their backcourt.

“They didn’t want to move him in the first place,” another source said to Bulpett. “They really like Malcolm. But they had to balance out their roster. They didn’t want to go into another season having to rely so heavily on (Robert) Williams and (Al) Horford. They had a bit of a logjam in the backcourt, and they really needed some insurance up front.”

There’s more from Boston:

  • Williams is working to expand his offensive game this summer, and the Celtics want him to be more aggressive about seeking his own shots, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. After missing 47 games last season, Williams is following a program designed by the team’s director of rehabilitation to give him a better chance at staying on the court.
  • The Celtics are expected to resume contract talks next week with Jaylen Brown, who recently returned from an NBPA retreat in Spain, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. President of basketball operations Brad Stevens expressed optimism about working out an extension with Brown, who is eligible for a five-year super-max contract worth an estimated $295MM, but negotiations have been on hold while Brown, a union vice president, was out of the country.
  • Stevens faces an upcoming decision involving Justin Champagnie, who has a $50K guarantee on his contract if he remains on the roster through August 1, notes Brian Robb of MassLive. That guarantee increases to $350K on opening night, and Robb points out that either figure will cost the team much more due to luxury tax penalties.

Celtics Notes: Brown, Porzingis, Brogdon, G. Williams, Roster

Nearly two weeks have passed since Jaylen Brown became eligible for an extension, but Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens didn’t appear worried about the situation on Wednesday night, writes Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Stevens explained that he’s limited in what he can reveal, but he indicated that talks are going well.

“It’s been all good discussion,” Stevens said. “We want Jaylen to be here for a long, long time and we’ve made that clear. We’re looking forward to all sitting down, and we’ve got time here. I probably shouldn’t say anything else, but I feel optimistic.”

There are no signs that Boston plans to offer Brown any less than the projected $295MM he’s eligible to receive in a five-year super-max contract, Himmelsbach states. He adds that the sides have until October to finalize an extension, and the delay seems to involve the incentive structure and the possibility of a fifth-year player option for Brown like the organization gave to Jayson Tatum.

There’s more on the Celtics, all from Himmelsbach:

  • The team finalized a two-year, $60MM extension on Wednesday with Kristaps Porzingis, who was acquired from the Wizards in a three-team deal last month. Stevens said Porzingis provides numerous options for the Celtics because of his versatility. “I just think we’re fortunate to do that, a guy that can play with either of our bigs and play as the lone big,” Stevens said. “I mean, that’s a big part of what we need to be moving forward, as far as we have a little bit more balance there in that group. He’s a good player and to have him here for a few years is obviously a good thing.”
  • Stevens also provided a health update on Malcolm Brogdon, who was included in an early version of the Porzingis trade. The Clippers were originally going to acquire Brogdon, but they pulled out of the deal because they didn’t have time to review his medical records before Porzingis had to pick up his option. Stevens said Brogdon, who suffered a torn tendon in his right elbow during the Eastern Conference Finals, has been rehabbing the injury and is close to resuming basketball activities.
  • Stevens acknowledged Grant Williams‘ contributions during his four years with the team, as a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks become official on Wednesday. “I do think it’ll be a good opportunity for him and it gives us some flexibility here as we move forward,” Stevens said. “But he did a good job. He’s a hard guy to lose.”
  • Stevens indicated that more roster moves could be coming as the Williams trade creates an open spot, and Justin Champagnie and Luke Kornet both have non-guaranteed contracts. “I think we’ll try to add, obviously, a little bit,” Stevens said. “I’d like to get a little more depth, maybe on the wing, and then also maybe with a (power forward/small forward) type. I feel pretty good about our bigs. We’ve got a couple two-way (contract openings), so we’ve got some things we’re still very much looking at.”

Eastern Notes: Haliburton, Heat, Haslem, White, Champagnie

As good as Tyrese Haliburton was on the court for the Pacers this season, earning his first All-Star berth and averaging a double-double (20.7 PPG, 10.4 APG), president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard was just as impressed by the character the third-year guard showed off the court, writes Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star.

“I’ve never been around a more complete, empathetic, understanding-of-what-the-real-world is, loving, taking-care-of-the-small-people, truly-committed-to-community leader like him,” Pritchard said this week. “I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen a connector like Tyrese ever. Like ever. He connects with our ball boys. He connects with the CEO of some company. He just has this ability to make people feel comfortable around him. When I talk to him, I learn from him. I really do.”

Already viewed as the cornerstone the Pacers will build around for years to come, Haliburton figures to have a say in personnel moves going forward, according to Dopirak, who notes that a player’s fit alongside the 23-year-old will be considered whenever the team weighs a roster addition.

“The direction that he’s headed, he becomes a partner in the franchise,” Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle said. “When you’re the face of the franchise, you’re a real partner in it. We need to do everything possible to put him in a position to be able to do his job at the highest possible levels and try to remove as much difficulty from his job as possible.”

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • What will the Heat have to do differently on Friday after losing Tuesday’s play-in game to Atlanta? Just about everything, according to star forward Jimmy Butler. “Come Friday, we’ve got to play, like, legit the exact opposite that we played tonight,” Butler told reporters after Tuesday’s contest, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. Butler singled out rebounding and second-chance points as areas Miami needs to clean up — the team was outrebounded 63-39 by Atlanta.
  • After Udonis Haslem scored 24 points in 25 minutes during the Heat‘s regular season finale on Sunday, head coach Erik Spoelstra spoke about how much he’ll miss having the big man on the sidelines and in the locker room, Friedell writes at ESPN.com. “I’m going to miss his spirit,” Spoelstra said of Haslem, who will retire at season’s end. “I’m going to miss his voice. I’m going to miss his intentions. He has incredible, pure, team intentions. Every single day. He doesn’t have a bad day. He may express himself with anger other times at his teammates or even with me, but his intentions are pure.”
  • Bulls guard Coby White started 54 games in 2020/21 but has otherwise served primarily as a reserve since entering the NBA in 2019. After coming off the bench in all but two of his 74 games in ’22/23, White says he still aspires to claim a full-time starting role, per Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic. “You don’t come (into) the league thinking, ‘I’m cool coming off the bench,'” said White, who will be eligible for restricted free agency this offseason. “Yeah, I’ll play whatever role for whatever team I’m on, for sure. But my goal is to be a starter. That ain’t gonna change.”
  • Justin Champagnie‘s new deal with the Celtics is a two-year, minimum-salary contract that’s non-guaranteed for 2023/24, Hoops Rumors has learned. Champagnie will get a partial guarantee of $50K if he’s not waived by August 1. That partial guarantee would increase to $350K if he remains under contract through the start of the regular season.